It is never easy to experience or go through separation or divorce, but it can be even harder when it comes to child custody. Who should be the retaining parent?
When will the live-out parent visit the child? Why not let the child decide? If only life were that simple.
Unfortunately and alluding to the latter question, at what age the child can decide is determined by the UK law and it currently stands at the minimum age of sixteen.
Until they reach the minimum age of sixteen, it is the decision of the separating or divorcing couple to decide. Otherwise, and unless the separating or divorcing couple can decide, it is decided by the court in a Child Arrangements Order or a similar court issued order.
This order can also dictate that the child live with the retaining parent until they are seventeen or eighteen years of age.
Having a court order issued against the other parent can often incur steep cost, so it is a wise decision to try and resolve the conflict of child custody outside a court. However, if it cannot be resolved then that is when it should be taken to a court for an arbitrator to decide.
The arbitrator will decide in favour of a parent based on the long term health, safety and financial support a parent can give to the child while taking all other family, health, location and environmental factors into account. Gaining custody of a child in a court is never as black and white as it seems.
Additionally, if the child is of an age where the authorities feel they understand the complexity of the situation, they will take their views into account.
For a more comprehensive and concise explanation of the proceedings of age-related child custody, please visit WiseLaw.